Friday, July 31, 2009

This month's artist is Ryan Berkley of Berkely Illustrations he will be showing off his famous animals all dressed up! You can check out his blog too! Here is our recent interview with Ryan:

S-What is your show at Schmancy focusing on?
BI-I'm doing a series of Sasquatch portraits called "Creature People".
One thing I have noticed from doing art shows in Seattle is that the people there seem fond of the Sasquatches. My series depicts a certain zany-ish tribe residing somewhere not far from Seattle.

S-That's so true, we are crazy for sasquatch here! For those of us who don’t know, what has inspired you to create animals all dressed up?
BI-I guess it dates back to 3 or 4 years ago when I was into doing old west/turn of the century portraiture. And one day I drew a Koala in a suit. And then another animal. And then tons more.
I'd say my love for all animals and awesome old timey-photos finally came to a head.

S-What is your most favorite animal ever?
BI-Tiger sharks. They're filthy, scary, unpredictable, giant tropical fish with crazy looking teeth that live life by their stomachs- eating birds, turtles, and man-made garbage from the sea floor. They're the goats of the sea. My second favorite animals are the goats of the land.

S-Any new projects or events you want to tell us about?
BI-I currently have a few portraits for sale through Urban Outfitters, I just finished doing some portraits for a RADICAL project with a great design team in Seattle, Creature design (our project: secretsherrysociety), I will be appearing at Crafty Bastards in D.C., hopefully Renegade Chicago, and I will be in Seattle doing the awesome Urban Craft Uprising shows in early August and again in December.
Also, my wife and I are also in top secret talks of a possible book project...

S-Great! we look forward to seeing you at UCU and Schmancy!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bwana Spoons & Abe Lincoln Jr. Interviews!!

Bwana Spoons and Abe Lincoln Jr. will be showing new work at Schmancy this Friday, July 10th. Opening Reception is from 6:00 to 9:00. Below are the interviews we did:

S-Hi Bwana! How is your WTF Book Tour going?

BS-Tour is going great. I’m meeting new peeple and seeing some old faces. It was really awesome to be back in Paris again. This froggy really needs to learn some french. Cause I want to go back again. Only a few hick-ups so far. I just got all my stevens in, so this week before I see you guys I need to back track and paint NYC big apple stevens and some euro stevens and schmancy stevens and Grass hut stevens, then paint the balls off of some more after the weekend before I take off for SF, LA, and San Diego.

S- I've heard Rosetta Stone is helpful in learning French...What has been your favorite place on your travels so far?

BS-WTF travels? Paris is the bomb, but I had lots of fun in london and New York too. Each place has its own magic. New York has hands down the most smells and best graffiti. I went to Mishka, snacky, AG Gallery and a rice pudding boutique, and met up with some huge thunder and lightning. In london concrete hermit was nice, I went to a rad fixie shoppe, Lik neon, and ate some shish.

S- Are you really excited to see any specific place?

BS-I like driving by myself. Looking forward to a little pitstop in the redwoods, as I have been reading about redwood canopies. SF is like my second home, and Tokyo isn’t too far away now. Excited about everything right now.

S-In Paris did you ride the metro or the buses?

BS-I rode the metro which was super easy and fun, London tubers was even easier and was the cleanest so far eh.

S-Have you been poked in the eye from a pencil fight yet?

BS-No, but the Parisians hadn’t done PF’in before and I thought somebody was going to get something in the eye there.
The Pencil fights have been the most fun so far. Good way to bring peeple together.

S-Glad to hear! Thanks Bwana! Now to our other artist showing this month at Schmancy, Abe Lincoln Jr.

S-What new techniques are you using to create your art?

ALJ-For Handcrafted Vectors, I've decided to show this new process I've been working on. Basically I'm trying to combine various techniques from Street Art, wheatpaste, boards, and tagging to create new collage/decoupage work. I'm really happy with how these new pieces have come out. I have to say that this is my favorite solo show yet. It's really exciting to be exploring again and trying out new things.

One of the things I really like about these works is that I've added an element of organic texture to all the pieces. This is really exciting to me after so many years of mainly working in vector or sharpie.

I have tons of paper laying around the house so I started just painting very loose and rough over what I had using primary colors in acrylic. Then I got in there with Paint Pens trying to lay down smooth character shapes that flowed & kept the details simple. I would I then cut out the character shapes and wheatpasted them to painted boards. I wanted to maintain that rough bubbly look of a hastily pasted up poster in the street in these pieces, and I thought I added more texture to the work as well.

S-It sounds really great, we can't wait to see it. What is inspiring you to change how you are working?

ALJ-Basically I've decided I wanted to experiment with merging the style I've used in my vector work with my hand drawn stuff. Simple shapes and clean design are always inspiring to me. I wanted to create a feeling with these works that evoked colorforms, kids books, and mid century illustration. It wasn't until I'd done a few of these pieces when I realized that they really evoked Eric Carle's work as well.

Also I’ve spent the last couple years really focusing on concept driven projects, be it platform toys, or my new project for design objects - Fugue State Records. Its nice to take a break from pitching ideas to companies and trying to figure out how I'm gonna finance projects and just focus on doing some hand made work that just requires me some supplies and a lot of hard work.

I'm certainly not changing up styles completely but I want to integrate more hand made art in my body of work in the future.

S-That's really cool! Tell us more about the work in your show.

ALJ-One of the things I really like about these new works is that they are often bright and inviting but then you look at them and there's a confrontational element to many of them. The inclusion of private parts on a lot these simple cute characters is really jarring to me, specifically on Remain Awesome. I mean holmes has a boner and his butt is talking... The boner was unintentional but I think its hilarious and totally adds to the work.

The theme of the show seems to have evolved into primitive tribes, old tyme religion, animism, mythology and of course a new series of Char (the bird) pieces all made by hand instead of my traditional vector work.

Doing these Char pieces in this new style has kind of revitalized him to me and I'm planning to do a a new series of Char work in this style for the future.

S-Are there upcoming shows or projects you want to mention?

ALJ-Mainly right now I'm trying to secure backing for a new project I'm working on called Fugue State Records. Its basically a fictional Extreme Music label and I will be laser etching various materials to look like stylized 7" records. I've got a roster of fictional Hardcore and Metal bands that I will be doing releases for in the same way a real record label would. The first release is by the Icelandic Black Metal band Asspanther. There is no music associated with any of the releases as I'm currently using to raise the fundage so you can go check out the site and if youre down you can contribute to help bootstrap an awesome new Art Project: fugue state records

I also have another solo show at the Last Exit bar on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn in October.

S- Do you like cats or dogs?

ALJ-This is the second interview in a row where I got this question. Lol. I am a cat person.

S-Thanks Abe! See everyone at Schmancy on Friday July 10!!